Winfrida Kamwana: The Sins of My Father

Jun 18, 2021 | Blog | 10 comments

I spent years not talking to my father. The anger I had for him was too much that my heart felt so heavy each time I heard or remembered his name. I could not figure out why he did the things he did. As I am standing next to his coffin looking at the picture displayed on the table, so many questions run through my mind. I should have asked him before he died, maybe I would have gotten the answers. Would I be able to forget all the pain and hate that had built high walls in my heart? He was the first man I trusted with every breath in me and the first man that also broke me. I look at my mother sitting next to the coffin, her eyes puffy from crying and I do not understand why she loved this man so much despite the pain he inflicted on her. As I look at her, everything comes back in my memory black and white. All the pain, the hurt, the anger, the hate, it is intoxicating. I feel dizzy, I stagger slowly to a chair at the back of the church. I sit down and close my eyes, as I remember everything that happened, the pain tightens my chest and I cannot breathe.

I came back home from school a little late that day. My head ached from walking in the sun for a long time. I was in standard eight at that time and the pressure to pass my MANEB examinations was getting the best of me. I opened the door and went straight to the kitchen to see what was in the pots. “Beans as always.” I said underneath my breath. My family was not rich and I cannot say we were poor either because we managed to get the necessities like food, clothes and shelter. My father was a builder while my mother was into business. She used to sell mandasi and anything she felt would bring money in that season. I went to my room to change my uniform before eating. At this time, my mother was still at the market doing her business and my father was at the bar since he did not have to go to work. My brother who was the first-born was in form 3 and at a boarding school. It was days like these that I wished, I had a younger brother or sister who would keep me company. Being alone at home was boring and I did not have many friends staying around. As I sat down to eat, my father staggered in carrying two bottles of Carlsberg. I hated it when he came home like this because that meant he would beat my mother or me for no reason. The last time he came home like this, he beat up my mother and made her lose her pregnancy. I could tell that until now she was hurt because she really wanted another child, I was hurt too. My father walked in looking at me. He cursed underneath his breath when he hit the chair near the door.

“Why is it so dark in here?   He asked, struggling to find the right place to sit down. “Because there is a blackout.” I said getting up to leave the plates in the kitchen.

“And where is your mother?

I pretended I did not hear that because if I had answered he would have kept on rumbling about time that women are supposed to be home long before their husbands so that they can cook for their husbands. It was getting dark and my mother was not home yet, I started getting worried and my father kept on asking me as if I had an idea where she was. I went to my room to study hoping that my mother would come soon to cook for her husband and get him off my case. I lit up my torch since the lights where not back yet so I could see clearly. Time passed and I fall asleep. My father’s voice woke me up.

“Tadala! My father called me and I run to him. “Where is my food? I am hungry. where is your mother?

“I will go cook dad, I think mum is on her way” I answered quickly so he would not get upset and lay his hand on my face. He looked at me in a way he had never done before, as if he was seeing me for the first time. He smiled at me and I wondered if something was on my face or my dress.

“You are really growing Tadala, looking lovely…very lovely.” He said while moving closer to me. I just stood there not knowing how to react. I mean he was my father what can actually happen between us. I am his thirteen-year-old daughter and he is my protector, the only man I trusted with my life and everything in me. The scent of the alcohol almost suffocated me and I tried to step away from him but his grip was too strong for me.

“You are very beautiful my angel”

“Tha…Thank you.” I stuttered not sure, if it was appropriate for him to touch me or compliment me like that. I tried to pull away but he would not let go of my hand. He pushed me and I fell to the floor with tears running down my cheeks. I really did not understand what was going on, one moment his complimenting and the next thing he is pushing me. He pulled my dress up and I fought so hard but he slapped me so hard that my ears hurt. He told me to stop resisting because he took care of me, fed me and that gave him the right to do whatever he wanted to me, I was his property. I tried shouting until my voice gave in. He closed my mouth with his left hand and I just cried in silence. I felt the pain as my father took away my innocence. I could not fight anymore I just lay there numb.

My mother walked in and she froze at the sight. “Really Edgar? That is all she managed to say. My father stood up with his trouser in his hands and walked out of the house without looking back. My mother held me crying while she kept saying sorry. My body ached and I did not have the strength to stand until she carried me to the bathroom where she cleaned me up. I did not see my father for weeks after that and I could not sleep for many nights. The pain and anger took the best of me. A few weeks later, my father came back with all sorts of gifts to apologize. They say there is a thin line between love and war. In war, you destroy a large number of people while in love you destroy yourself. My mother’s love for my father destroyed her and in the process destroyed me. She accepted him back in our lives and life was never the same for me. I felt unsafe in a house that was once my home. I was just a stranger living with another stranger for the sake of someone we both loved so much, my mother.

After writing my examinations, I started noticing some changes in my body. I gained a little weight and I could not go through the day without feeling nauseous. My mother took me to the doctor who confirmed I was pregnant. My mother told my father who had nothing but insults for me. He said I was a loose woman who acted all innocent yet I had already lost my values and decency.

“Seriously? Were you not the one who forced yourself on her? Said my mother not believing what her husband just said. I cried myself to sleep that night. What was I supposed to do? I was only thirteen and pregnant with my father’s child.

I hated my father for what he did but I could not hate the little blood that was growing inside of me. He told me to abort as news of the pregnancy would bring shame to the family but I could not bring myself to do it. I knew there were slim chances of me surviving the delivery of the child but I just could not take out an innocent life. He came home one evening with a plastic bag. I was sitting on the veranda watching the sunset. He sat next to me with a huge smile on his face.

“How are you Tadala? Are you feeling any pains? He asked.

“No…no I am okay. I said, surprised he was actually talking to me about the pregnancy.

“I am sorry about the way I treated you, I was just afraid that I might lose you because you are too young for this.” He said looking at me with expectancy. Maybe he was waiting for an answer but my mouth was too dry for me to speak. He took the plastic bag and gave it to me.

“I bought you juice as an apology, I hope we will start afresh.” With that, he entered the house. I just sat there dumbfounded with all that was happening. I was hungry so I opened the juice and drunk until the last drop. A few seconds later, I felt a sharp pain in my lower abdomen. I could not handle the pain so I screamed. My mother run to me to see what was going on. Blood was on the floor and I could not stop screaming. She took me to the hospital where the doctor said I lost the baby due to an excessive consumption of a pesticide. She also said due to the damage caused by the pesticide it would be a miracle for me to conceive again in future. I did not understand how a pesticide got into my body until I remembered drinking the juice father brought for me. I asked him what he did to me and the look on his face told me all I had to know. I was so broken. What did I ever do to this man to hate me so much? I was his blood for God’s sake. My mother stood up from where she start shaking with rage. She slapped my father across the face and told him to leave. He tried to sweet talk his way into my mother’s heart but this time my mother was too hurt to listen. That was the last time I saw my father.

Here I am 8 years later at his funeral. The same man that broke me, shattered me to pieces. I do not know why I am here. Maybe I am still looking for answers. I am trying so hard to process everything this man did to me. If he had a heart at all. It has been 8 years and I still cannot trust any man that comes in my life. I know some of them are genuinely in love with me but I keep pushing them away. The sins of my father have taken away all the hope, the trust and the love that I once had. They say the reason people cling to their hate so stubbornly is that they sense that once the hate is gone, they will have to deal with the pain.  My pain still haunts me every night and I cannot shake it. I hope my father gets what he deserves and I hope I find peace for I cannot continue living with the pain of my father’s sins. I hear the choir singing, “It is well with my soul” as the undertakers carry the coffin. I close my eyes hoping and praying that it is well with my soul too.


  1. Ger Luh Kratos

    🤩lovely 🌹

  2. Timothy Nkhoma

    What a somber story. The story is real good one

  3. Chikondi Kandulu


  4. Josh Mfitizalimba

    This story is something. As if ndilire. Kudos

  5. Klthm

    Perfect 👍

  6. Gloria chisanga

    What a sad story😢may his soul rest in peace

  7. Bustan Sav

    The author has chosen the best theme as it relates to what is happening these days. The narrator also is good at interacting with the audience and makes them sombre. The story is very good.

  8. Jonathan

    Nice story

  9. Daniel

    Woww, this is one of the well written stories. You are so talented. Great introduction and ending.


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